Packed Up

Kit-bag, shoes, tees, tracksuit, tennis racket, trainers, bandages, sweat-band, shower gel and muscle rub. That’s the lot for now – No wait, the bacteriological hand cleansing gel. I’ve left it in my locker. Must have it, just must have it. Can’t get ill now, germs everywhere; showers, toilets, drains, and worst of all, people; especially those around here, other athletes – the worst kind of germ carriers. It said so in those emails we all had, and the posters and reminders everywhere, in the changing rooms, on the track and in the hospitality suite. Huge red letters warning against shaking hands with each other – even the other Brits, let alone the ‘foreigners’.

All those years of training, suffering and hardship to reach ‘The Games’ and your high hopes of Olympic triumphs could be dashed by even a mild bug: that could ruin my peak condition which I’ve reached in perfect time and wreck my dream performance . I’m so ready, I’m so up for it – the best I’ve been in my entire career. Can’t take any chances now, can’t risk catching anything except a ‘gold’. The locker room is packed with people, (all looking germ-laden and infectious to me). I’ll need to wait until it thins out. I can’t leave without the gel though – it cost enough too, a jumbo pack specially imported from America.

The hubbub’s died down now and the locker room’s cleared, this is my chance. My locker’s at the far end of row 13. ‘Don’t get stressed’ I mumble to myself, but the darned key won’t work. ‘Stay cool, there it is at last on the top shelf’. It’s heavy though, maybe I should’ve got the standard size, and it’s a bit slimy, some must’ve leaked out.

I yelp as it slides from my hands, pooling the floor with slippery dangerousness. Another yelp as I turn to grab the bottle upright and crash to the unforgiving tiles as my trainers run away with my feet and pitch me into the steel hard locker door. My elbow cracks ominously. A fellow competitor appears and offers a germ-laden hand to help me up, but the anxiety bug has got me already, and the pain’s too much –I’m out of The Games.

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